Interview/article with Alfonso Cardenal in efe eme
Hi Anjani, thank you for taking your time on my questions.
Thank you, Alfonso.
How are you doing with your new record?
The cd is called I Came To Love.
When will it be in stores?
It will be available digitally this spring. There has been such a change in the music business over the last few years that nowadays it really takes significant demand to justify manufacturing hard copy cds, although most of my fans prefer them over downloading. It’s one of the matters we’re looking at now.
Why did we have to wait for so long for another record?
I didn’t intend to take so long but it just happened that way and I learned not to argue with Universal Timing. I wrote and recorded many songs since Blue Alert. They are all precious to me—even the songs I cast aside–but the more I listened, the more I grew away from them. Sometimes I lost my way and hated what I was hearing, then I had to get past my self-editing to where I could love them again…and that took more time.
Eventually I gathered the ones with staying power–the songs I felt like singing for a long time. There are some poems of Leonard’s that I set to music, and I also wrote lyrics and collaborated with two other writers.
What have you been doing all these years?
Like everyone else, I’ve been living! These are deeply interesting times to be alive—socially, politically, environmentally—and I have been faithful to the inner journey, growing and changing as an artist and a woman and a citizen of the world. Because art springs from such a mysterious, internal well, one often needs to rest, recharge, and to listen for and receive inspiration in new ways.
So I took up landscape painting a while ago, and I really love the tactile experience of working with color and canvas. I approach it like I do music, which is to say I may go weeks without it appearing to anyone as if I’m creating, but inside I’m exploring, listening, I’m watching the sky change colors and sensing how the leaves turn their bellies upward before the rain and they tell me how thirsty they are, and the birds speak to me about their lives…so much activity is happening in this silent time.
Then I’ll go to the easel and paint ten or twelve hours until I have finished a piece. Next day, next week, I keep looking at that painting…if the conversation is done I’m happy, but if it doesn’t feel right, I might paint over it a whole new scene.
I’m ruthless that way…same with music. Both Leonard and I are as concerned about the song as we are unattached to it…he taught me to edit and discard fearlessly. So what if it takes seven, twenty, or thirty years to achieve exactly what you mean to express? Maybe sometimes you get lucky and God says, “Here you go” and it pops right out. But that’s rare and I don’t mind waiting for the gems to surface. The truth is worth waiting for…that’s what we’re all here to learn, right?
I love the sound and the lyrics of Blue Alert. Has Mr Cohen helped you with the writing?
Leonard wrote the lyrics and I wrote the music for Blue Alert. It was a very collaborative record because he had a definite opinion about what I created for his work. So some songs I got right on the first try, but others took many versions to get it right. When it was perfect we both knew it in our bones.
One track that didn’t make the cut for Blue Alert is on this new record. It’s called Standing On The Stairs, and I first wrote it with a country feel, then as a folk song, and then I gave up on it completely. Then two years ago I met Jerry Marotta (producer) and it was one of the first songs we recorded, and it just flowed out effortlessly. During this time, Leonard was on the road a lot touring, so I was navigating more on my own. I sent him ideas on the road and he would give me feedback, so as much as possible, he was involved this new collection.